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This morning as I was on hands and knees in the garden, this thought crossed my mind.

Lawns by example are mostly fine green expanses where nary a stray weed survives. In order to achieve this landscape, one must employ the use of chemicals at scheduled intervals throughout the year, every year. Upon learning that one very popular weed control is a sister to Agent Orange, I discontinued the use of any weed control five years ago.

Smithsonian turf

Today as I stroll the “lawn” following three inches of rain, I see brightly colored dandelions, clover, violets, muscari, and an assortment of fine threads of non-turf, blooming in robust procession. The existing turf from decades of attempts by previous owners leaves me to wonder—do I experiment this year and let it all go native? After all, the turf never receives additional water from the well. When there is drought, the turf goes dormant. Too often Virginia experiences long dry spells with temperatures well over ninety partnered with high humidity. With the planet’s future forecast, I can only imagine more of same.

This winter I purchased two publications entitled Easy Lawns from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and The Wild Lawn Handbook by Stevie Daniels. I was hoping to find new ideas to implement in my Virginia garden. Not so. In order to employ these techniques, one must remove existing turf grasses and start from scratch. Although I reduced the size of my turf to 3,000 SF, the expense of dozing exceeds the value, as this is not my forever home.

Therefore I ponder today—shall I proceed with mowing the weedy turf weekly, quit mowing all together, invite my riding pal to graze her horses here, or place this property on the market and build my dream house where Buffalo Grass will reign supreme?

In the meantime, I continue to weed the deep shrub borders on hand and knee, prepare for the flowers and flutter-byes of summer, and smile every time I notice the fine line between order and chaos.

to mow or not to mow?

Copyright © 2012 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved